5 Rules of Successful Entrepreneurship No Matter What Field You’re In
Regardless of your industry or your idea, here are a few hard and fast principles I’ve gleaned for being a successful entrepreneur.
1) Know when to get out of the weeds, and then do it. The weeds are the minutia. The daily mindless tasks. The little stuff that must be done regularly for the business to run. As a beginning entrepreneur there’s a certain amount of this to be endured. But so many entrepreneurs get stuck ‘in the weeds’ that they can’t see the forest. Mixed metaphors aside, you must always be keeping one eye on the big picture, the long-term strategy. There comes a point with every business when you’re established enough and have enough of a revenue stream coming in to start systematizing the administrative stuff so you, as the visionary, can rise out of the weeds. I hear from entrepreneurs all the time who say that hiring their first employee is one of the best business decisions they’ve ever made.
2) Achieve a healthy work-play balance. We shouldn’t be Jack Nicholson in The Shining, for obvious reasons… But on the other hand we can’t sit around and watch whatever just came out on Netflix all day every day.
All work and no play makes a dull entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs have the added challenge of balance because for many of us work doesn’t end when leaving the office (many times an entrepreneur’s office is their home). There’s always something to do. I found after the first couple years of running a company that I had to set a clear schedule and know when it was time to ‘turn work off’ and take some time to relax.
3) Stay organized. Getting yourself organized is a great example of delayed gratification, which we’ll see is important by itself. Spend some time now to save lots of time later. When you decide to spend some time getting organized now, you’re saving yourself a lot more added up time later. Being organized saves you time every day. Once you’re organized it’s easy staying organized. Save your time because…
4) Remember that time is money. All five of these musts are really interrelated. Any aspiring entrepreneur is looking to eventually maximize their money to time ratio. We want to work hard early on in our business, but at a certain point we get out of the weeds, start systematizing, and working less. We want to spend less time and make more money. For me, there is a limit here though. You hear a lot in entrepreneurship theory that the goal should be to remove yourself completely from the business’s operations. If they left at anytime, the business would be able to function normally. While automating to this degree is a good idea if you’re trying to sell your business down the road, we’re not in business just to make money. We want to make a difference and feel a sense of purpose. Many of us want to stay involved in the day-to-day operations and decision-making. Being aware of the time is money principle is important, but we shouldn’t marry ourselves to it.
Ramen Noodles, tastes like delayed gratification (and chicken.)
5) Delay your gratification. New entrepreneurs work really hard for not a lot of pay at the beginning. You should look at it as a long-term investment in yourself. An entrepreneur can work years without much to show financially. That’s a lot of Ramen! But putting in the work now is a lesson in delayed gratification. Years later, after you’ve mastered entrepreneurship and are leading your company/companies on your terms, you’ll look back and realize all that Ramen was well worth it.